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The 20 best outdoor summer music parties in New York

Whether you prefer dancing on a boat or listening to soul jams at the park, we have the right summer music party for you

You've gotta love summer in New York. You can't swing a cup of sangria without spilling on a great summer party—from world-class DJs to pool powwows to prohibition-era jazz soirees like the fantastic Jazz Age Lawn Party, there's a little something for everyone. So head out and make the most of it! Get to one of the city's non-douchey rooftop bars (yes, they exist), or any number of places that offer refreshing summer drinks in NYC under the open sky. Here's a list of twenty top-notch shindigs to get you started.

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Photograph: Chris Polinsky

Air à Danser

Sharegroove's Steve ShakeWell curates this postwork outdoor Brooklyn gathering filled with mellow Balearic vibes and summer harmonies, no matter the weather. Past guests have included Toby Tobias, Waxist and Phenomenal Handclap Band's Sean Marquand, while upcoming guests include Love on the Run, Greg Caz and Balaeric Social's Andy Pye from the U.K.Come, snack on some food and vibe out. Battery Harris. Begins May 7, Thu 7pm; free.

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Thu May 7 - Thu Sep 10
Photograph Courtesy of Carolyn Concepcion

Sweet Spot Festival

Harlem’s roving monthly dance party and artisan market is back. If you’re a DIY maker, apply online to be a vendor at one of the upcoming jamborees. Visit sweetspotfestival.com for details.

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Fri May 15 - Sat Aug 1
Photograph: Courtesy ReSolute

ReSolute presents: Scissor & Thread Showcase

ReSolute has been blessing New York nightlife with an abudance of warehouse and after parties the past few months; we're not sure how we would've survived the winter without them! Transitioning into full-on summer mode, the party collective and record label throws the first boat party of the season. Local favorites Frank & Tony headline, with debuts coming from Desert Sound Colony and Rosas Nievas. Eirikur gets the party started with an opening set. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. May 16, 4–10pm; $40.

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16 May 2015
Photograph: Courtesy Output

Sundays on the Roof

Wind down your weekend with this early-evening, open-air event, featuring a host of top-notch house and disco spinners. Our favorite local party collective and record label Resolute kicks off the series on May 17 with a killer lineup, headlined by French techno wizard Dyed Soundorom. New York duo and Scissor & Thread favorite Bob Moses headline the roof on July 31. Be warned: Output's frozen margaritas are dangerously delicious. For ongoing updates visit outputclub.comOutput. Begins May 17, Sun 2–10pm; $15–$35.

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17 May 2015
Photograph: Joey Timmer


Don't stop grooving this Memorial Day Weekend at the U.S. edition of the world's longest running dance music festival. Electronic bands and DJs—including some acts selected by Brooklyn music mecca Verboten—will take to the stages in Bethel Woods, home to the legendary Woodstock '69. The festival offers shuttle busses from New York and Jersey as well as camping passes. Bethel Woods. May 22–24; $109-229 single day, $214-369 weekend.

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Fri May 22 - Mon May 25
Photograph: ©Madison McGaw

Might Get Weird: Memorial Day Party

Our favorite Brooklyn-based party & DJ collective, the Deep, always knows how to throw a poppin' party, whether at Chinatown's Le Baron or at Bushwick restaurant, music venue and local hangout, Tutu's. Last year we were lucky enough to witness everything weird and awesome at their Memorial Day party at Sugar Hill Disco & Restaurant. We're confident that this year's edition will be even more ridiculously fun, so stay tuned for exact location and lineup info.

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25 May 2015
Photograph: Jena Cumbo

Blkmarket Membership: 9 Year Anniversary Boat Party

Blkmarket Membership returns for another big boat bash, this time celebrating it's nine year anniversary. Talented Berlin musician/producer/DJ Sven Weisemann headlines, with more artists to be announced in the following weeks. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. June 13, 4–10pm; $50.

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13 Jun 2015
Photograph: Luciana Golcman

Jazz Age Lawn Party

Brush up on your Fitzgerald and Hemingway in time for this outdoor bash, where part of Governors Island is transformed into a Prohibition-era soiree. Charleston to Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra playing jazz staples, while donning your finest flapper garb and Zoot suits. Then Lindy Hop over to the bar for decade-appropriate cocktails. Governors Island (jazzagelawnparty.com). June 13–14, August 15–16, 11am–5pm; $55, advance $45.

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Governors Island , Governors Island Saturday June 11 2016 - Sunday August 14 2016
Photograph: Still Awake

All Day I Dream

It's back! The All Day I Dream summer-party series, which comes courtesy of London house master Lee Burridge, returns to Brooklyn amid its world tour. Burridge headlines with support from various globally renowned artists. Expect a big turnout and no shortage of beautiful, grooving rhythms. Visit facebook.com/alldayidream for details.

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14 Jun 2015
Photograph: courtesy Str8 West Coastin'

Str8 West Coastin'

Looking for a California backyard-party vibe, complete with carne asada and elotes on the grill? Head to Str8 West Coastin', where resident spinners Dopeshoes, DJ Eleven (The Rub) and Cali-bred Still Life and his guests, 2DopeBoyz's Meka, will be playing West Coast treats from the likes of Dre, Snoop, Cube, E-40 and Too Short. Past summers have also featured appearances from foam westside hands, beer coozies, California temporary tattoos and, of course, hologram Tupac! Project Parlor. June 20, July 18, Aug 15, 2–9pm; free.

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Sat Jun 20 - Sat Aug 15

718 Sessions Boat Party

The Sessions take to the sea once again for the crew’s annual Gay Pride cruise, with Danny Krivit at the helm to spin soulful house and classics aboard the Circle Line. This boat party has earned a reputation as one of the year's best—meaning it will likely sell out, so the advance-ticket route is a smart way to go. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. June 28, 7:30–11:30pm; $45, advance $35.

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28 Jun 2015
Photograph: Loren Wohl

Warm Up at MoMA PS1

After a decade and a half of packing MoMA PS1's courtyard with NYC's music aficionados and sun-worshiping revelers, Warm Up is bigger than ever, with as strong a lineup of bands, DJs and producers as it's had in years. Last year's awesome DJ talent included Yeezus producer Evian Christ, Dâm-Funk and the pop/electronic duo Cibo Matto, so we're sure this year's will be bigger and better than ever. MoMA PS1 (momaps1.org). June 27–Sept 5, Sat 3–9pm; $20, advance $18. 

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By: Vivienne van Vliet
Photograph: Oliver Correa

Verboten StageONE

Well-known Williamsburg club Verboten returns this summer with an even bigger event series just down the street at Bushwick Inlet Park. Previous StageONE parties have hosted legendary acts such as Four Tet, Carl Craig, Moodymann, Sasha, Guy Gerber, Solomon and Maya Jane Coles. Stay tuned for official lineup announcements and ticket info at verbotennewyork.com. Bushwick Inlet Park. July 3, Aug 23, Sept 19, 210pm; $150 “early bird” three-day pass.

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Fri Jul 3 - Sat Sep 19

Soul Summit Music Festival

A nicely mixed crowd (all races, ages and sexualities), a park, a sound system—and the Soul Summit spinners playing deep house, Garage classics and Afro- and Latin-laced rhythms: What more could you want out of life? Well, how about some great spinners, including Soul Summit residents DJ Sadiq, DJ Tabu and DJ Jeff Mendoza? Visit soulsummitmusic.com for details.

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12 Jul 2015
Photograph: Jackie Lee

Full Moon Fest 2015

Full Moon, the annual dance-friendly beach bash named for and modeled after the monthly all-night parties on the Thai island of Ko Pha Ngan, returns to Governors Island with not only a kickass main stage bill (Yelle, Tensnake, RÜFÜS DU SOL, MOTHXR, The Kite String Tangle), but also a special Crew Love Stage (Wolf + Lamb, Soul Clap, PillowTalk, No Regular Play, Slow Hands and more)! Governors Island. Aug 1, 4pm; $80, advance $60.

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01 Aug 2015
Photograph: John Klemm

Central Park SummerStage

SummerStage has another packed schedule this year, celebrating its 30th summer of outdoor shows. But this year sees some great DJs and electronic acts like Caribou (August 6) and Glass Animals (August 9), as well as a buttload of classic hip-hop artists including Biz Markie and Masta Ace (June 17), Marley Marl and Large Professor (July 16), Pete Rock (July 19), the Rock Steady Crew's 38th Anniversary party with Whodini and Big Daddy Kane (July 26), Afrika Bambaataa, Quantic and Giles Peterson (August 8) and a special screening of a new documentary on radio pioneers Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito (August 16). Central Park. Various dates, visit cityparksfoundation.org/summerstage for details. 

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Central Park
Photograph: Alberto Caputo

Good Room and Dope Jams present: 1st Annual Yacht Party

Paul Nickerson and Francis Englehardt—better known as Slow to Speak, the DJ duo behind legendary record store Dope Jams—have been playing monthly residencies at their new Brooklyn home Good Room. For this special occasion, however, they're coming to NYC to play on a boat! Good Room teams up with Dope Jams to present the 1st Annual Yacht Party with Slow to Speak and a special guest to be announced closer to the date. Good Room. Aug 23, 5pm; $TBA.

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23 Aug 2015
Photograph: Scott Kowalchyk

Electric Zoo Festival

New York—just like the rest of the world—goes gaga for EDM (electronic dance music) and shows its love at this annual three-day dayglo rave-up on Randall’s Island. In its six year history, the fest has seen headlining DJ sets and live performances from Skrillex, Deadmau5, Avicii, Pete Tong and Moby—yep, the big names. Randall's Island (madeevent.com/electriczoo). Sept 4–6, 11am–11pm; 3-day pass $239.99.

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Fri Sep 4 - Sun Sep 6
Michelle O'Brien

Mister Sunday

Mister Saturday Night's Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter have been a big influence on NYC's nightlife scene for some time now. Last summer, they brought their beloved end-of-the-week series to a new, larger location: Industry City in Brooklyn's Sunset Park. The all-ages event takes place in a courtyard and includes food, drink and, of course, plenty of good records. Industry City; Sun 3pm; $TBA.

Photograph: Kenny Rodriguez

Tiki Disco

For ready-to-party New Yorkers, one of the season's best shindigs is Tiki Disco, making occasional forays into Rockaway Beach from its usual location at the Well. If you’ve been there, you know the drill—lots of beer-swillin’ dancey-dance fun, with Eli Escobar, Lloydski and Andy Pry serving up the rhythmic-motion-inducing goodness. Various locations and dates, visit tikidisco.tumblr.com for details. Sun 2–10pm; $TBA.